This is Where the World Ends by Amy Zhang
Young Adult Contemporary Fiction
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published March 22, 2016 by Greenwillow Books
Note: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review consideration.
Janie and Micah, Micah and Janie. That’s how it’s been ever since elementary school, when Janie Vivien moved next door. Janie says Micah is everything she is not. Where Micah is shy, Janie is outgoing. Where Micah loves music, Janie loves art. It’s the perfect friendship—as long as no one finds out about it. But then Janie goes missing and everything Micah thought he knew about his best friend is colored with doubt.
This is Where the World Ends reminds me of a mixture of AS King, John Green, and Jennifer Niven. Janie seems like your typical manic pixie dream girl. While this trope seems to be played out and a little annoying, I think it can stems from mental illness—at least in this case. I think Janie is probably bipolar, or something along those lines. She has really high highs and really low lows and latches on to anything that is beautiful. She has her head in the clouds–a dreamer.
Micah is Janie’s childhood best friend and the boy next door. Micah is obviously in love with her. He will do anything for her.
The story is told from both of their perspectives, but on different timelines. When it’s Micah’s perspective, it’s present day. Janie is gone, but we don’t know where. We know there was a party and a fire, but we don’t know much else. Micah was there, but something happened to him. He injured his head and has no memory of the event and has trouble forming new memories now. When we read from Janie’s perspective, it’s from before the night of the party and what leads up to it.
Janie and Micah have been friends forever, but Janie likes to keep him separate from her life at school. She doesn’t want anyone to know that they are friends. She is a serious compartmentalizer. Janie has an intoxicating and addictive personality—she’s someone you love to be around. But she uses people. She uses Micah. That’s exactly what she’s doing, even though she doesn’t think it is. She keeps everything neatly squared away in the little boxes she puts them in.
Micah and Janie are both naïve. They are so young. They think they are invincible and the world is their oyster. This book is the story of both their lives and their relationship slowly unraveling.
I flew through this book. The writing is seriously beautiful. The fact that I compare it to AS King’s is the highest compliment that I can pay. Although I really liked the writing, the characterization of Janie and Micah’s relationship often got on my nerves. Oftentimes, I found this book was a little too much for me. However, on the whole I did enjoy it.
Beth O’Brien is a library assistant and book blogger. Born and raised in Atlantic Canada, she lives in picturesque Nova Scotia with her cat Edith. You can often find her rocking double denim with her nose in a book and a craft beer in her hand. Follow her on Twitter @fuelldbyfiction.